They Can't Take The Sky From Me....

The term cult classic gets thrown around too often these days, around anything that is classed as a niche market or has a small fan base. The true cult classics in my opinion are films like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Princess Bride, and TV shows like Daria and Black Books. Would I consider a show like Firefly to be among these? To answer my own question, yes I would. This show holds a very special place in my heart, and I wasn't lucky (many would say unlucky) enough to watch the show when it was first broadcast. There were issues with the network company, Fox, but I will go into this in more detail later on. I first watched the show when it came out on DVD based on a friend's recommendation. I knew about the show's creator, Joss Whedon, as I was a big Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel fan. Now over the years I have returned to Firefly a number of times, as it does have that re-watchability factor. To me Firefly shares a few similarities with these shows where the characters are key and each one is fleshed out with a lot of love and care. I dare you not to fall for the charm of the crew of Serenity.

Firefly is set in space around 500 years in the future where mankind has being exploring the universe, a lot like the first settlers exploring the Wild West in America. To simplify, the show is basically a western in space. The show does this by mixing a few cultures and themes that run deep to the soul of the show. They use a lot of Eastern and Western vibes throughout, hinting at the 2 big powers in the world, combined and expanded through the vast darkness that is space. To further this point, when the people swear in the show, they normally do so in Chinese. It’s the little details that make the difference - showing something as simple as the toilet on the ship Serenity, giving you a peek behind the curtain in a way that not many Sci-Fi shows do. The feeling I get through the short series is a feeling of loss and holding on to what they have left. Almost like the crew know times are changing but they still refuse to come to terms with the change. I'm not going to go through each episode and break them down one by one, but what I will do is a kind of highlight reel of what I loved most about the show and also a few things I didn't care for.

One of the main things I loved about Firefly, and to this day still hold strong feelings for, is the cast and crew. I still look out for and watch pretty much anything the cast is involved in from Nathan Fillion in Castle to Alan Tudyks new show Resident Alien. To me though, they will always be Captain Malcolm Reynolds and Wash, the pilot of Serenity. These 2 roles always stood out to me the most, as they often had a conflicting relationship during the show. You could tell they both had a strong bond that was tested in the short life span of the Firefly, but if the show was given a chance to grow I do think there would be a lot more interesting stories to tell. From Wash's point of view, he was the goofy pilot who always had a silly remark to break whatever tension there was with the crew. His love of his wife, Zoe, (who was also Captain Reynold's second in command) showed was romantic, frustrated and even jealous at times. This always came across fanatically as Zoe would always respond in her deadpan way. Every character had their own roles in this dysfunctional family: the father figure in Captain Reynolds; Kaylee the little daughter to everyone, she was full of energy and positivity and she always brought a shine to the old rusty spaceship; Inara was motherly in her ways with the crew except for the sexual tension between her and the captain. The "will they or won't they" part of the relationship would have been a main stay throughout the multiple series, if they had happened. Even the oafish Jayne who was the hired muscle of the team, but was like the petulant older brother that like to wind everyone up and pretend not to care; but, like The Grinch, was able to let the team into her heart. There are the twins, Simon and River who are central to everything happening on the ship and the story; they are the new step brother and sister, but it takes time for the family to adapt and accept them as part of the crew. Shepard Book is a man with a mysterious past, he shows a softer side as the wise old grandpa (just don't let him hear you call him that). Shepherd's beliefs are different to the captain's and even though there is mutual respect between the two, they constantly butt heads. Then there are the dreamers Uncle Wash, who is a kid at heart, and Zoe, who plays straight faced and deadpan with the crew. Zoe is the glue that keeps order on the ship. That's the crew, a rag-tag bunch that grow and give you so much in just 14 episodes that most shows can't get close to in multiple seasons.

A few of my personal highlights of the show is when you are taken by surprise. The ending of the first episode where Mal shoots the law man in the face without even missing a step, as his ship was in danger from the on rushing Reaver's. The whole episode is built to introduce us to the crew and give us a feeling of the show and what to expect. This shocking turn comes during a tense stand off and the shot comes out of the blue. You realise that the captain has a bit of wicked streak and when push comes to shove he is a man not to be messed with.

Here comes my biggest issues with the show. Simple, it's only 14 episodes long! A lot of questions don't get answered and you never get the closure that you want or the show deserves. Things like who are the men with blue gloves, and what is there intention? Shepherd Book's back story is always hinted at but never fully explored. Now this is hugely disappointing, as he is such an interesting character with a lot of layers to chip away at. I know they did try wrap up a few loose ends in the film serenity, which I loved, but they left too much on the table to explore. Another thing that harmed the show has been talked about a million times over the years - the fact that FOX didn't know what to do with the show or was expecting something more like STAR WARS. So they played around with the order that the shows were broadcast on TV, and this totally confused the first time watchers. It didn't make sense to watch it this way, so a lot people didn't keep watching and it was pretty expensive show to produce. This led to the show being cancelled. In true Firefly spirit it found its way onto DVD in the correct order and the show found a cult following that loved and shared it with like-minded people.

With that being said, I have heard rumours of a reboot of Firefly by Disney. This will potentially be on the Disney+ streaming platform. The bad news is that they are looking to recast the whole show, which to me is a big mistake but I could be wrong.

I will always be a browncoat and share my love of Firefly with anyone who has seen this shiny series.

Thanks for reading :)